Day 181 – March 30th – Last Supper

Though tomorrow is the final day of our six months, my time in Elmsted and Hastingleigh has ended. This morning was final cleaning and packing (everything fitted into my rucksack!), then a quiet afternoon with a book. This evening we had our last supper at Trevor and Dot’s, though with a slight oversight about travel arrangements to get there. I had assumed that Trevor might pick me up with my big bag, but no, we were walking, and I can now say I’ve carried a 17kg rucksack from Elmsted to Hastingleigh! 

Dinner was jovial and Trevor wished us all well for our future careers. Now I’m snuggled up in bed at the New Flying Horse in Wye, and ready for a very early start tomorrow morning. Mum and I are off to Paris, Nice and Lyon on a well-earned holiday. 

I was told some while ago that Trevor’s flute studio is a cross between flute boot camp and finishing school. It has been both, and for now I’m just happy to have survived the whole thing and come out the other end. For now, my daily blog posts are at an end, and I hope the coming weeks and months will bring plenty of time for reflection. It has been an interesting ride! 

Day 77 – December 16th – Playing for the Gardeners

Today has been a busy one, and I’m definitely ready for an early night! It was also a day of ups and downs, and of trying to figure out whether a few of the downs were just in my head.

Class this morning went well for the warm-ups. IfI trust myself and don’t get flustered, I can play a lot of the exercises, and now I’m also trying to use mental practice a bit more to help strengthen things and avoid learning in mistakes. At the end of the warm-up session, Trevor announced that some of us were “absolved” from using long Bb in our studies, and that I was one of them. To be honest, I almost fell of my chair!

Studies, however, didn’t go as well as I wanted. For some reason a combination of being really cold and some funny nerves made me jittery, and I made silly mistakes. Andersen No. 9 (including the double-tonguing variation) were quite good, but my selection of Moyse studies earned quite a lot of criticism. Altès No. 10 just felt uncomfortable, as I hadn’t learned the accompanying part well enough, and my 50 Variations No. 5 was not in the correct rhythm. However, when I later mentioned to Trevor that I’d been feeling a bit off colour, he looked surprised and replied with “oh, I thought you did quite well today”. I must keep focusing on the learning process rather than the day-to-day.

This evening’s short concert for the village Gardeners Society Christmas party went pretty well. We played three sextet pieces, Alyssa and Roya did The Emperor and the Bird of Paradise for flute and spoken voice, and I played Ulpirra by Ross Edwards. I’m not totally sure what the audience made of my final performance direction to ‘stamp and shout’, but they seemed to enjoy the concert overall, and Trevor was pleased. As an ensemble, we played well together considering it was our first concert, though the different acoustic of the hall made a few people a little nervous. I need to remember to compensate a little more for a cold piccolo!

Our flute history papers are finally submitted and the cheese, biscuits and two glasses of wine at the gardeners’ party was a nice reward.